Since early 2020, our lifestyle has modified dramatically. COVID-19 has remodeled how we examine, be taught and work — even how we store, eat and collect.
All through the pandemic, Canada has carried out particular person and community-based measures to guard its residents. Whereas most Canadians have trusted and listened to the scientists and public well being specialists, too many have ignored the science — protesting masks sporting, social distancing and vaccination.
Those that have did not adjust to these protocols have extended the pandemic and put their fellow residents in danger. This troubling difficulty requires consideration and future motion, together with addressing it by means of schooling.
Accountable citizenship and schooling
Accountable citizenship is key in a democratic society — and with it comes the accountability to not interact in behaviour that endangers the well being and well-being of neighbours.
Famous professors of citizenship schooling, Joel Westheimer and Joseph Kahne, tie good citizenship to an energetic democratic citizenry. They stress the significance of instructing about following the regulation and changing into a personally accountable citizen, participating in civic affairs and changing into a participatory citizen, and difficult social inequities by changing into a justice-oriented citizen.
In recent times, because of rising world challenges — similar to poverty, starvation, public well being and local weather change — the idea of accountable citizenship has expanded to incorporate world belonging and dedication.
World citizenship seeks to unite individuals inside and throughout international locations in frequent trigger to bridge nationwide divides to handle seminal challenges going through the world. World citizenship in some ways seeks to fulfil the United Nations Sustainable Growth Targets designed to confront urgent world points.
In faculties, “world citizenship schooling” goals to supply college students with the information, expertise and values to develop into accountable residents and be taught to handle a variety of generational challenges. Colleges in a number of international locations, together with Canada, have began to acknowledge the significance of those instructional targets. A number of provinces, similar to Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Québec, have built-in world citizenship schooling into their social research curricula previously few a long time.
Canadian intergovernmental our bodies representing each provincial ministry of schooling, together with the Council of Ministers of Schooling, Canada (CMEC), have emphasised the significance of world citizenship schooling amongst different priorities. In its current Pan-Canadian Programs-Stage Framework on World Competencies, CMEC laid out six world competencies for college students: world citizenship and sustainability; crucial pondering and drawback fixing; innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship; studying to be taught and to be self-aware and self-directed; and collaboration.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Considering post-pandemic citizenship
Regardless of these curricular tendencies, points which have come to gentle within the pandemic have proven that the targets of world citizenship schooling should adapt.
These embody the disregard for public well being protocols, the undermining of science, the unfold of misinformation and the dearth of concern for others (notably for seniors, who usually tend to get very in poor health with COVID-19, and for these with underlying well being circumstances).
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It’s more and more vital that the following technology of Canadian college students learn to navigate the numerous elevated challenges of a post-COVID-19 world. Analysis from the Middle for World Growth famous that “the following pandemic might be a lot sooner and extra extreme than we expect.”
In gentle of the teachings of COVID-19, faculties throughout Canada ought to think about providing a social research elective course that emphasizes post-pandemic values, together with dedication to public well being, empathy and compassion, self-sacrifice and a co-operative spirit. Such a “post-pandemic citizenship” schooling might assist put together the following technology of Canadians to advertise the type of values typically missing in the course of the pandemic.
Well being literacy, compassion
First, the course ought to embody problems with public well being. It might, for instance, use on-line instruments and platforms to show college students well being literacy. As famous by the World Well being Group, well being literacy implies equipping individuals to “play an energetic function in enhancing their very own well being, interact efficiently with neighborhood motion for well being, and push governments to satisfy their tasks in addressing well being and well being fairness.”
Researchers from the Wholesome Colleges Lab on the College of Alberta famous that when schooling went on-line because of pandemic closures, provincial tips for at-home studying didn’t embody a concentrate on well being and bodily schooling.
The course additionally might study how different international locations dealt with COVID-19 and prior epidemics or ask college students to plan a plan for combating the following pandemic.
Second, there needs to be an emphasis on empathy and compassion, together with its affect on optimistic well being outcomes. In Canada, there have been efforts to impart empathy within the classroom and these efforts ought to proceed. For instance, Canadian educator Mary Gordon based Roots of Empathy greater than 20 years in the past. This program seeks to develop college students’ emotional and social competencies, leading to much less aggression and bullying.
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Self and neighborhood curiosity
On the similar time, the course ought to stress self-sacrifice. From reviewing case research on those that disregarded public well being suggestions on the expense of others, to debating conditions the place collective accountability ought to transcend particular person self-interest, these classes might be instructive.
For example, the Winnipeg Faculty Division not too long ago launched an Schooling for Sustainable Growth Plan to show college students about collective accountability in such areas as human rights, environmental safety and lowering poverty.
Research of collective accountability ought to embody analyzing points round fairness as a result of disproportionate affect of the pandemic on marginalized communities in Canada.
Learning paperwork just like the Canadian Constitution of Rights and Freedoms can also make clear the crucial function of presidency mitigation methods in supporting the collective dignity and rights of residents.
Collective good at stake
By embracing a co-operative spirit, college students can recognize native examples of neighborhood involvement, or think about when private and non-private sector establishments ought to collaborate for the nice of society at residence and overseas.
For example, Toronto’s Bloorview Faculty Authority, which supplies faculty packages to youngsters with particular wants who’re present process intensive therapies, has partnered with UNICEF Canada to lift funds for vital faculty gear for college students in Malawi. A Bloorview instructor famous that the mission, often known as Youngsters in Want of Desks, helps college students perceive what it means to be world residents in a pandemic. That is whilst they take care of their very own studying disruptions because of COVID-19 whereas managing different challenges.
That is simply a place to begin. Over time, Canadian faculties might want to proceed to re-examine and rewrite social research curricula to groom the following technology of residents for a post-pandemic world. The collective good and accountable citizenship are at stake.